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Sex Dictionary
The Letter A
How To Have Good Sex, Inc.

Abasiophilia a paraphilia of the eligibilic/stigmatic type in which sexuoerotic arousal and facilitation or attainment of orgasm are responsive to and contingent on the partner being lame, with a limp, or crippled [from Greek, abasios lameness + -philia]. The reciprocal paraphilic condition is autoabasiophilia.

abidancy the proclivity to seek and defend a territory, residence or home-ground upon which to reside and fulfill the metabolic needs to sustain life; one of the five universal exegencies of being human

abuse-dwarfism retardation of growth in body and mind secondary to child abuse and neglect.

acault (pronounced a-chow') in Burma, the name given to a full-time female impersonator or gynemimetic. See also hijra.

acceptive phase in a sexuoerotic relationship, the the second or middle phrase, following proception and preceding the possibility of conception, in which the two persons accept one another, and become mutually involved in body contact, specifically with the genitals in coitus. See also conceptive phase; proceptive phase.

acrotomophilia (or acrotometophilia) 1. a paraphilia of the stigmatic/eligibilic type in which sexuoerotic arousal and facilitation or attainment of orgasm are responsive to, and contingent on a partner who is an amputee [from Greek, akron, extremity + tomo, a cutting + -philia; a liking of an amputated extremity]. An acrotomophile is erotically excited by the stump(s) of the amputee partner. 2. the condition of being dependent on the appearance or fantasy of one's partner as an amputee in order to obtain erotic arousal and facilitate or achieve orgasm. The reciprocal paraphilic condition, namely self-amputation, is apotemnophilia.

ACTH adrenocorticotropic hormone. A pituitary peptide hormone named for its role in stimulating the release of adrencortical hormones.

Adam/Eve principle in embryological development and subsequently, the principle that nature's primary template is that which differentiates a female, and that something must be added to induce the differentiation of a male.

Adam principle In fetal life, the differentiation of a male requires that something be added, in particular MIS and testosterone. Partial or complete differentiation otherwise takes place, regardless of chromosomal sex. See also Eve principle.

addiction a state or condition of existence characterized by habitually engaging in a highly specific and routine activity reiteratively and compulsively, irrespective of aversive or deadly consequences; the addiction is not to the activity, but to the object, substance, or person toward which the activity is directed. See also sexual addiction.

adolescence the period of developmental maturation beween puberty and young adulthood, equated in the vernacular predominantly with teenage.

adolescent gynecomastia in about 15 percent of boys at puberty, the growth of glandular tissue and enlargement of the breasts in response to the hormones of puberty. Typically the enlargement is minimal and self-correcting, but in rare cases resembles that of a girl and requires corrective plastic surgery (mastectomy). The etiology, though obscure, is attributed either to an atypical utilization of the low level of estrogen normally produced by the testicles of the male, or to an atypical resistance to the counteracting effect of testosterone.

adolescentilism, paraphilic the paraphilia of impersonating an adolescent and being treated as one by the partner. One of the stigmatic/eligibilic paraphilias. See also ephebophilia; gerontalism; infantilism; juvenilism.

adrenal cortex the outer three layers of the adrenal gland, as contrasted with the innermost part, the medulla. The cortex produces steroidal hormones, among them the glucocorticoid cortisol, and nonpotent sex hormones. See also adrenal gland; cortex.

adrenal gland an endocrine gland located immediately above the kidney. It consists of two portions: a cortex and a medulla. The cortex produces and secretes steroidal hormones, among them cortisol (a glucocorticoid), and weakly active sex hormones. The medulla produces epinephrine and norepinephrine (adrenaline and noradrenaline), catecholamines augmenting sympathetic nervous system arousal

adrenocortex (adjective, adrenocortical) see adrenal cortex.

adrenocortical hormone one of the hormones, for example cortisol, secreted not from the internal medulla but from the external cortex of the bilateral adrenocortical glands.

adrenogenital syndrome see CVAH, for congenital virilizing adrenal hyperplasia, and CAH, for congenital adrenal hyperplasia.

adulthood the period of maturity that follows adolescence. There is no fixed age for the onset of young adulthood, except that legally it is for most purposes set at twenty-one.

adventive adventitious, or happening in one's life history in a unique way and not according to a universal system; see also imperative.

aegis auspices, patronage, or sponsorship.

agalmatophilia a fictional paraphilia, not yet observed as a syndrome, in which the sexuoerotic stimulus is a nude statue or model of a human being [from Greek, agalma, image + -philia]. Synonyms, statuophilia; Pygmalionism. See also pictophilia.

age-aviodancy a socially dictated constraint on personal disclosure to people of a different age group than oneself. It affects erotic/sexual behavior and communication. See also allosex-avoidancy and intimacy-avoidancy.

agenesis (adjective, agenetic) partial or complete failure of an organ or part of the body to form or develop.

agonistic in opposition or opposed to; in pharmacology, a drug that competes with a naturally occurring substance at cell receptors.

AIDS acquired immune deficiency syndrome, caused by a retrovirus (HIV-I, human immunodeficiency virus) infection, and lethal; no cure has been discovered as of this writing.

allosex-aviodancy a socially dictated constraint on personal disclosure to members of the other, but not one's own, sex. It affects both behavior (as in locker-room nudity, for example) and communication, as in sexual joking. See also age-aviodancy and intimacy-aviodancy.

allure enticement; attractivity; seductiveness; as in proceptive phase behaviors.

Alzheimer's disease cumulative degeneration of mental function in adulthood, associated with cortical atrophy characterized by degeneration of brain cells into tangled spindles, and terminated by total dementia and death.

ambiguous having more than one possible meaning; equivocal.

ambiguous genitalia a birth defect of the sex organs in which, from their embryonically undifferentiated state, they have failed to become fully differentiated as either male or female, but are unfinished. At birth the baby's sex cannot be declared on the basis of visual inspection. Diagnostically, the term is hermaphroditism or intersexuality. Embryologically, it is not possible to develop a complete penis and scrotum together with a complete vagina and vulva.

ambisexuality (adjective, ambisexual) having characteristics shared by both sexes [from Greek, ambi, both + sex]--in human beings, for example, nipples; pubic hair; birth-defective genitalia that look hermaphroditically ambiguous or intersexed; or mating behavior shared by both sexes.

ambitypic as applied to sexual dimorphism of the genitalia, brain, or behavior, differentiation of both female and male anlagen together during an initial phase, after which only one anlage, female or male, continues to develop and the other does not, as in the case of the m|llerian (female) and wolffian (male) embryonic ducts. Antonym, unitypic.

ambivalent going both ways or leaning in both directions at once, especially with respect to loyalty or allegiance to a person or idea.

amelotasis the condition of being an amelotatist; the condition of having an erotic inclination toward the stump of an extremity missing either congenitally or as a result of amputation; see also acrotomophilia; apotemnophilia.

amelotatist one who is attracted to amputees [from Greek, an-, not + melos, limbs + tasis. irresistibly drawn toward]. Synonym, apotemnophile.

amenorrhea absence or failure of the menstrual periods.

amphoteric partly one and partly the other [from Greek, amphoteros, both].

amygdala a part of the brain situated in the temporal lobe. It belongs to the "old brain" or limbic system.

anabolic having the effect of building tissue, especially muscle tissue.

anachronism a historical error, placing a person, thing, or event either before its time or after it has become outdated.

analingus stimulation of the anus with tongue and lips, not a paraphilia, but may be part of normophilic sexuoerotic activity as well as part of the sadomasochistic repertory.

Androcur the trade name of the hormone, cyproterone acetate, manufactured by Schering A.G., West Berlin. The hormone resembles progestin and is antiandrogenic. It has various clinical applications, one of which is to help sex offenders gain personal governance of their sexuoerotic conduct. See also Depo-Provera.

androgen male sex hormone [from Greek, andros, man], produced chiefly by the testis, but also by the adrenal cortex and, in small amounts, by the ovary. In biochemical structure, there are several different but related steroid hormones that qualify as androgens. They differ in biological strength and effectiveness.

androgen-induced hermaphroditism a syndrome of hermaphroditic birth defect of the sex organs induced in the 46, XY gonadally female fetus by an excess of masculinizing hormone transmitted from the mother through the placenta. The syndrome may be experimentally induced in animals by injection of the hormone testosterone, whereas in human beings it is adventitious, the source of the hormone being a maternal (possibly placental) hormone-producing tumor.

androgen-insensitivity syndrome (AIS) (also called testicular-feminizing syndrome): a congenital condition identified by a 46, XY sex chromosomal karyotype in girls or women who appear externally to be not sexually different from normal females, except in some cases for a swelling or lump in each groin, or for the absence or sparseness of pubic and axillary hair after puberty. The cells of the body are unable to respond to the male sex hormone, which is made in the testes in normal amounts for a male. They respond instead to the small amount of female sex hormone, estrogen, which is normally made in the testes. The effect before birth is that masculine internal development commences but is not completed. It goes far enough, however, to prevent internal female development. Externally, the genitalia differentiate as female, except for a blind vagina, which is usually not deep enough for satisfactory intercourse and needs either dilation or surgical lengthening in or after middle teenage. There is no menstruation and no fertility. Breasts develop normally. Incidence of occurrence is approximately one in 500 births. Synonym, testicular-feminizing syndrome.

androgyne a person who manifests a merging of the roles traditionally stereotyped as belonging to male and female, respectively [from Greek, andros, man + gyne, woman]. Formery the term was also used as a synonym for male pseudohermaphrodite, along with gynandroid as a synonym for female pseudohermaphrodite.

androgynophilia erotosexual pairing with a man and a woman serially or simultaneously by a member of either sex. It includes falling in love. See also bisexuality.

androgyny the condition of showing some characteristics of both sexes in body, mind, or behavior. [Is this also spelled androgeny?]

Andromeda in Greek mythology, an Ethiopian princess who was chained to a cliff as a sacrifice to a sea monster, until rescued by Perseus, who married her.

andromimesis a syndrome of male impersonation in a natal female who is able to relate sexuoerotically exclusively with women, and who may be hormonally, but not surgically sex-reassigned [from Greek, andros, man + mimos, mime]. It is a syndrome of gender transposition, not paraphilia. See also andromimetophilia.

andromimetic a girl or woman being a person manifesting the features or qualities of a male in bodily appearance, dress and behavior. There is no fixed vernacular synonym except, maybe, a "bull dyke," that is a female homosexual who lives in the role of a man. She may request breast removal, but not genital surgery, and usually not horomones to masculinize the voice, beard and body hair. See also gynecomimetic.

andromimetophilia a paraphilia of the stigmatic/eligibilic type in which sexuoerotic arousal and facilitation or attainment of orgasm are responsive to, and contingent on a partner who is an andromimetic or, in some instances, a sex-reassigned, female-to-male transexual [from Greek, andros. man + mimos, mime + -philia]. The paraphilic counterpart in men is gynemimetophilia.

androphilia love of a man by a woman (female androphilia) or by a man (male androphilia). It includes erotosexual bonding. See also heterosexuality; homosexuality. erotosexual pairing with a man by a woman (female androphilia). It includes falling in love. See also heterosexuality; homosexuality.

androstenedione an androgenic hormone, secreted by the adrenocortex, ovary, and testis, less potent than testosterone.

anerotic not erotic; lacking eroticism.

anesthesia, penile diminution of erotic/sexual feeling in the penis and its replacement to some degree with a feeling of numbness.

anesthesia, vulval diminution of erotic/sexual feeling in the sex organs of the female, and its replacement to some degree with a feeling of numbness.

anhedonia lack of pleasure in doing or experiencing something, or doing it only as an obligation, duty, or drudgery.

anlage (plural, anlagen) in embryology, the initial element or structure that develops and differentiates into a more complex structure.

anorexia nervosa a syndrome of deficient appetite, deficient nutritional intake, and emaciation ending possibly in death from self-starvation. It may alternate with bulimia. [XX Might not these be manifestations of hypophilia?]

anorgasmia a hypophilic condition or syndrome, variable in etiology, of being unable to attain orgasm with normally conducive modes of stimulation; failure to attain a sexual climax or orgasm during the acceptive phase of an erotic/sexual episode. It is also known, in men, as ejaculatory delay or incompetence. In women it is confused with frigidity, a term obsolete, imprecise, unscientific, and laden with opprobrium.

anovulatory without ovulation, as when an estrous or menstrual cycle occurs without the release of an egg from the ovary. Anovulatory cycles are infertile cycles. Until ovulation resumes, a female is said to manifest anovulatory sterility.

Antabuse a trade name for disulfuram, effective in the treatment of alcoholism as it produces aversive symptoms when combined with alcohol.

antiandrogen a hormone or other substance that replaces androgen within the nuclei of target cells, or excludes its entry. It inhibits the secretion of testosterone from the testis and is itself either biologically inert or functionally very weak.

antigen a substance which, when present in animal tissue, stimulates the production of antibodies.

antipode (plural, antipodes; adjective, antipodal[antipodean]) the exact opposite or contrary of an idea, thing, or place (pronounce singular, to rhyme with ode; plural, an-tip'-od-eez').

analism A sexuoerotic interest in stimulation of the anus; not necessarily a paraphilia. With sexuoerotic potential in both sexes, the anus may be stimulated orally in analingus, digitally or with dildoes, through enemas in klismaphilia, and is used to receive the penis in anal intercourse, and the fist in brachioproctic eroticism or "fisting."

anus the opening at the end of the rectum of the alimentary canal through which feces are discharged.

apathy, erotic inertia, lack of arousal, and lack of interest in having sexual relations.

apogee the farthest or highest point; culmination; apex.

apophasis (adverb, apophasically) to mention something in disclaiming the intention to mention it. Example: I dare not mention the abominable practice, the secret vice of masturbation.

apotemnophilia a paraphilic fixation of the stigmatic/eligibilic type in which sexuoerotic arousal and facilitation or attainment of orgasm are responsive to and contingent on being oneself an amputee [from Greek, apo, from + temnein, to cut + -philia]. An apotemnophile becomes fixated on carrying out a self-contrived amputation, or obtaining one in a hospital. It is accompanied by obsessional scheming to get one or more limbs amputated. The reciprocal paraphilic condition in which the partner is an amputee is acrotomophilia or acrotmetophilia (the liking of an amputated extremity); the condition of sexuoerotic arousal being contingent on having an amputee partner, or fantasying about an amputee, in order to obtain erotic arousal and facilitate or achieve orgasm.

apperceptive assimilation informal learning on the basis of familiarity and experience.

areola (plural, areolae) the area of pigmented skin (mucosa?) immediately surrounding the nipple of the breast.

asphyxiophilia a paraphilia of the sacrificial/expiatory type in which sexuoerotic arousal and facilitation or attainment of orgasm are responsive to and contingent on self-strangulation and asphyxiation up to, but not including loss of consciousness [from Greek, asphyxia,[asphyxin,?] no pulse + philia]. Employing partial asphyxiation, as by hanging, strangulation, plastic bags or gags, in order to achieve or maintain sexual arousal or to facilitate or enhance orgasm. Usually seen in an adolescent male, but reported in older males. When the ritual is autoerotic, split-second failure to release the noose or gag at the onset of orgasm results in death. There is no technical term for the reciprocal paraphilic condition which is subsumed under the general category of sadomasochism with the dominant partner supervising, in control of, or presiding over the ritual. See also autoerotic death; hypoxyphilia; erotic self-strangulation.

assortative mating the mating of individuals on the criteria of reciprocally matching features, behavior, or mental characteristics.

asymmetry as applied to the brain, a proportional difference or discordance between the right and left hemispheres, particularly with respect to function.

atonement an act of reparation or compensation to make amends for an offense or injury. Atonement for the sin of sex lust is achieved through the sacrificial/expiatory and predatory/marauding paraphilic strategems.

atresia (adjective, atresic) congenital absence or closure of one of the openings or tubular organs of the body.

atrophy (adjective, atrophied, atrophic) a defect or failure of cell nutrition manifested as decrease in size or healthiness of an organ or tissue. See also dystrophy.

autagonistophilia a paraphilia of the solicitational/allurative type in which sexuoerotic arousal and facilitation or attainment of orgasm are responsive to and contingent on being observed or being on stage or on camera [from Greek, autos, self + agonistes, principal dramatic actor + -philia]. The reciprocal paraphilic condition is scoptophilia, also called mixoscopia. See also troilism.??

autoabasiophilia a paraphilia of the eligibilic/stigmatic type in which sexuoerotic arousal and facilitation or attainment of orgasm are responsive to and contingent on the fantasy of being lame, with a limp, or crippled [from Greek, autos, self + abasios lameness + -philia]. The reciprocal paraphilic condition is abasiophilia in which sexuoerotic arousal and facilitation or attainment of orgasm are responsive to and contingent on the partner being lame, with a limp, or crippled.

autassassinophilia 1. a paraphilia of the sacrificial/expiatory type in which sexuoerotic arousal and facilitation or attainment of orgasm are responsive to, and contingent on stage-managing the possibility of one's own masochistic death by murder [from Greek, autos, self + assassin + -philia]. 2. The condition of being dependent on the masochistic staging of one's own murder in order to obtain erotosexual arousal and facilitate or achieve orgasm. The reciprocal paraphilic condition is lust murder or erotophonophilia also termed imprecisely as serial killing.

autistic self-preoccupied.

autoerotic pertaining to sexuoerotic self-stimulation. The commonest form of autoeroticism is digital, that is, masturbation using the fingers and hands.

autoerotic death death from self-strangulatory asphyxia or electrical self-stimulation as part of a paraphilic masturbatory ritual. Release of the asphyxiating noose or reduction of the electrical current requires splitsecond timing at the critical moment, before blacking out. The autoerotic ritual may be repeated for years before the occasion when the critical moment is miscalculated and death ensues. [Version 2: death, typically from asphyxiation or electrocution, as an inadvertent culmination of a paraphilic sexuoerotic ritual involving self-strangulation or self-applied electric current.]. See also asphyxiophilia; electrocutophilia.

autoeroticism (adjective, autoerotic) self-directed erotosexual behavior [from Greek, auto, self + erotikos, erotic (Eros, the god of love)]. Antonym, alloeroticism. See also autophilia; autosexual.

autonepiophilia a paraphilia of the stigmatic/eligibilic type in which sexuoerotic arousal and facilitation or attainment of orgasm are responsive to, and contingent on impersonating a baby in diapers and being treated as one by the partner [from Greek, autos, self + nepon, infant + philia]. Autonepiophilia may be adjunctive to masochistic discipline and humiliation. The reciprocal paraphilic condition, namely having an infant as sexuoerotic partner, is nepiophilia. Synonym, paraphilic infantilism.

autonomic nervous system pertaining to that part of the nervous system that regulates usually "involuntary" reactions, especially those concerned with nutritive, vascular, glandular, and reproductive organs. These ganglia and nerves traverse the body in large part parallel to and outside the vertebral column, which encases the spinal cord (sympathetic or lumbosacral portion) and through fibers emerging with the cranial nerves and pituitary gland, and lower segments of the spinal cord (parasympathetic or craniosacral portion).

autophilia (adjective, autophilic) the condition in which love and lust are not attached to a partner but to the self [from Greek, auto, self + philia]. See also autoeroticism; autosexual.

autosexual (noun, autosexuality) characterized by self-sex contact, usually as a genital act (masturbation), with or without an accompanying erotic fantasy or ritual; or, rarely, as a long-term sexuoerotic status without a partner [from Greek, auto, self + sex]. See also autoeroticism; autophilia.

axon a threadlike structure on which impulses are transmitted away from the main body of a nerve cell [from Greek, axon, axle, axis]. See also dendrite; synapse.

azoospermia absence of sperm in the semen, with resultant infertility.

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The Founder: "Alex" Caroline Robboy, LCSW, QSW, CAS

Ms. Robboy is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Center for Growth Inc and How To Have Good Sex Inc.  Alex practices marriage and family therapy and sex therapy, and also conducts periodic seminars about human sexuality throughout the northeastern United States.

Ms. Robboy graduated from the University of Pennsylvania where she earned a Masters degree in Social Work, a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Human Sexuality Education and a Post-Masters Certificate in Marriage Counseling & Sex Therapy. Through the American Board of Sexology, she is a board certified sexologist and through the American Association of Sex Educators Counselors and Therapists a certified sex therapist.  Additionally, she is a licensed clinical social worker and a member of the American Board of Marriage and Family Therapy.


  Our Philosophy sex is like dancing, it changes every time. It depends on culture, atmosphere and mood. Sometimes it is done alone, with a partner or in a group. It can be fast and hard or slow and soft. Sex is a combination of non-verbal negotiation and verbal cues: a scream, a twitch of the toes, or a flush of the face. There is no one 'right' way to move, only what feels good to all those involved. 
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